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Parker, Movie 43

It’s hardly news that in the past decade Hollywood marketers have become increasingly reluctant to preview their product widely, preferring to limit screenings to the large markets where a handful of reviewers, most of them eager to please, can deliver happy reports to syndicated readers. It makes even more sense with films that are pretty much guaranteed to get bad reviews. But that kind of narrow thinking can miss the point if you believe in the adage that all publicity is good publicity.

Stand Up Guys

At a critical plot turn in Fisher Stevens’s Stand Up Guys, one of those guys, Doc (Christopher Walken), has to make an urgent phone call. He easily finds what must be one of the last working public phones in the unidentified northern US city in which the movie is set. It is quite an appropriate scene. In virtually any other movie Doc would have had recourse to a cell phone. In Stand Up Guys there’s not one of those in sight. The payphone fits into the picture’s distinctly artificial old-school spirit.

Academy Award-Nominated Shorts

For a movie buff, there are few things as gratifying as watching the Academy Awards with friends and being able to predict a category where you have actually seen all of the nominees—even better if you’re the only one who has seen any of them. You have a shot at being that person by seeing two programs of the Oscar nominated short films, showing this week at the Eastern Hills Mall and Market Arcade theaters.

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